(Photo Credit - Alexis Gross)
Forgiveness is LA based duo Girlpool’s fourth studio album and along with its dreamy and often delicate melodies, it packs a lyrical punch.
"Nothing Gives Me Pleasure" starts frantically, but calms down as soon as the vocal kicks in. The autotune gives the vocals a robotic cadence that suits the lyrics well and gives the whole song an otherworldly vibe. This is a classic dream pop start. "Lie Love Lullaby" is more stripped back and its pace makes it feel a bit malevolent. It’s catchy though and reminiscent of The Fame Monster- era Lady Gaga. Violet keeps the slow, breathy vocals but puts the acoustic guitar at the forefront for a more standard indie sound.
"Junkie" falls into the standard love song trap and everything feels a bit too slow and gentle. "Dragging My Life Into a Dream", while still being gentle is much stronger with a solid melody that draws you into the song. Single release "Faultline" continues the same vibe. "Light Up Later" brings all the echo and reverb and although the soundscape initially feels jarring, everything somehow meshes together to create something really interesting. Country Star is classic catchy synth pop, a great track to dance to. The dreamy melody of "Butterfly Bulletholes" juxtaposes nicely with the hard lyrics. Following this "Afterlife" initially feels like a wall of noise, but it’s a well crafted track which uses both drums and electro beats to good effect.
"See Me Now" is another stripped back track, the acoustic guitar allowing the lyrics to shine. It’s a great example of how to make a slower song just as interesting as the tracks with all the extra effects added to them. "Love333" continues the slow vibe to wrap up the album.
I find shoegaze / dream pop albums can be a bit hit and miss and while there were certainly highs and lows on Forgiveness, I enjoyed the album as a whole and it would definitely bear repeated listens in its entirety. Girlpool write thought-provoking lyrics and the shared vocals create interesting sounds on each song. The changes of tempo make each track feel fresh but everything still flows together coherently. I’m not an expert on the genre but this feels like it has the potential to become a classic example of it.
Standout tracks: "Lie Love Lullaby", "Country Star", "See Me Now"
Rating - 4/5